A Little Discussion – Page 1060

37 thoughts on “A Little Discussion – Page 1060

  1. Glory was always moonshine. Crusades can be useful, but not to religious intent, for a man never gets closer to god through following after coarseness. War is about making life hell on Earth (or Terria) for someone else, till they give what your political hierarchy wants from them. Unfortunately, humans are really quite good at doing that.

    Tethik learned that 20+ years ago, and finds it tiresome to watch another learn now what he learned then. The degree of control he must exert over himself when he meets the King is already hard. Exerting control over the actions of others will be both difficult and delicate, but then that is nor new to Tethik’s old position.

    1. There is only one reason that I can justify war; in defense of self, family & community (all the way up to Nation) against aggressive instigators. As a Law of Nature, everything that lives has some means of defense, so too should humans. Also, a war in defense should be fought & won quickly…Defeat or surrender only prolongs the suffering of those who still live through it.
      There never was any promise that this world would be a *safe* place to live in & none of us have the power to make it safe for everybody, after all.

      1. I agree with this in principal,
        however,
        A purely defensive war is very hard to win. The instigator must be punished or there is little disincentive to try again next year. This punishment can be in a trade embargo or other economic sanctions, trials for the generals and leaders, or more traditionally, in territory lost.
        A war must be costly to the would-be conqueror.

  2. “Unfortunately, humans are really quite good at doing that.”

    Unfortunately? Well, I’d rather say fortunately. Because without war-fighters (amongst many other professions),
    nothing of what we take today for granted would have been possible.

    A country or any political entity without dedicated soldiers on its side is doomed to be invaded or even more of a vassal than others, more powerful entities can be.

    Here are my two grains of salt of reflexion and thought on the matter.

    1. You forgot that his desire is for there to be no soldiers, and no need for soldiers, on either side of the wall. That the Other Guy be as inept at waging a war of aggression, thus relieving the necessity to stand ready to fight a war of defense.

      Unfortunately, humans are adept enough at it that humans must stand guard against humans for there to be any peace for anyone. But it would be a far better place if humans had as much difficulty for killing each other as humans tend to have for killing themselves; if homicide were as hard to commit as suicide.

      But in reality, humans aren’t all that good at killing, any more than the other beasts, which mostly fight their own kind to first blood, and not to the death. It’s just the rewards are high enough for the aggressor, or the punishment if one fails is harsh enough, for the defender and the conscript, to make overcoming that obstacle achievable. Most men are not born murderers, but must be conditioned into it.
      Bullies and slavers, however…

      1. You say that, but worldwide, there are about twice as many suicide deaths as there are homicide deaths in an average year (a million vs half a million, give or take, but most of the world is living in a peaceful time). It’s just that homicides are more newsworthy, since those who set out to do so can kill dozens (or millions, if in a position to start a war). Whereas suicides are only newsworthy when it’s someone famous, and even then, only when not covered up.

        1. I wonder, however, how many suicides are in fact homicide-by-bullying or similar.

      2. @SeanR

        On either side of the Wall? Maybe. But he – whoever “he” might be – only controls one side, and that control is extremely partial, at best.

        1. You’re being defensive, but we’re saying the same thing. Soldiers in the defense of peace are necessary because there are those who would do evil if allowed to do so.
          The point is, if humans were incapable of doing that evil, then soldiers wouldn’t be missed.

          To borrow an image from another poster’s book recommendation, imagine, if you will, all the effort that has been put into providing and maintaining a defense against telepathic blackmail and slavery. There have only been sporadic efforts to even find telepathy because, thus far, no reliable evidence of telepathy exists, so there is no telepath police ensuring that the evil telepaths don’t make slaves of us all.
          If telepaths existed, with all the range of choice of any other human, then it would be necessary to have a defense against “evil” telepaths, possibly involving “good” telepaths. As violence exists, it is necessary to have a defense against those who would use violence to subjugate others, including both walls, moats, and noble men, (and women,) capable of using violence when it’s called for.

    2. Reservist, dear brother, I see your point and it has merit. However, I’d like to point out that contrary to what seems common sense, war need not always be met with violence to fail. Mohandas Gandhi has proved that.

      I’ll add two important points. First, I’ve heard it said that Gandhi was up against the “civilized” British Empire and that his nonviolence would have been useless against the Nazis. Well, the “civilized” empire had its soldiers open fire on a crowd of peaceful demonstrators in the beginning of Gandhi’s action in South Africa. He still won. Second, when the Nazis occupied Denmark, the local government stalled deportation for three years. After which a huge lot of people helped 99% of the jewish population to escape to Sweden. So yeah, unarmed action worked even against Nazis.

      Second, I’m certain you can think of a thousand cases where nonviolent response was met with failure. And you’d be entirely right to do so. Then again, I’m equally certain your knowledge of military history (which I assume is tons better than mine) provides at least as many cases where violent response was met with failure.

      Merely hoping to provide food for thought. Certainly not to antagonize you.

      1. The Danes went further than that. They preserved and secured the goods, houses and moneys of the Jews, and returned it all to them at the end of the war with a full accounting.

        Odd that a country that put up the second worst defense to a Nazi invasion did more to prove general human decency in the face of overwhelming barbarity than anyone else. Humans make no sense.

        1. If the Danes put up the second worst defense, who put up the worst?
          Denmark was one of the countries that had demilitarized after WW1, because who could possibly want another war after that in Europe? They played a political game instead as they knew they couldn’t fight the larger Nazi military. And the Nazi generally tolerated the Danish antics, because of their race beliefs.

        2. Luxemburg. They looked at all the tanks forming up at the border and just went home. The Danes managed a bit of skirmishing in places but, well, they never had the strength to fight anyone who could get to them.

      2. the problem with Ghandi’s method is that it is useless if the intended goal of the aggressor is genocide, and in fact makes it easier. do not forget that six million had been subjected to a genocide not 30 years before he tested his method on a group whose goal was economic gain (that actually requires survivors among your victims). If it had been Hitler, and not the British he was facing, they would have most probably all died horrifically.

      3. Garbage. Ghandi met with success because he WASN’T fighting a war. He was carrying out his civil disobedience campaign against an empire tired of dealing with it’s extremities and willing to be done with them. As demonstrated by the fact they DIDN’T just make it policy to mow down every protest, and depopulate every town village and city that was a stronghold for them. The only time a pacifistic movement wins is if the other side isn’t willing to just up and slaughter them, and KEEP slaughtering them, till there’s no one left to piss in their corn flakes. If he had pulled his little movement with the Chinese, he’d have been wiped out. Russians too. Pacifists only exist on the suffrage of those not willing to slaughter them, or by the effort of those willing to do the fighting needed to defend them. Go ahead. Go to Ukraine and put some flowers in the barrels of the Russians that ‘aren’t there’ and see if they give a flying fuck at a rolling donut about pacifism.
        It’s a little damn late to raise and train an army till AFTER the invasion starts. This ain’t the era where it takes months to move an army the distance one can move now in a week.
        And those same professionals no longer follow standing policy, depending on the nation, of destroying civilian populations and actually try to minimize civ casualties. Which is why the rate they happen are far less then they used to be, where they were generally the primary policy of invaders.

        1. @Sleel
          “Pacifists only exist on the suffrage of those not willing to slaughter them, or by the effort of those willing to do the fighting needed to defend them.”
          Eh, kind of what I had in mind.

      4. I would also add that the best defense is strong one, as it can deter an aggressor from attacking in the first place. “Peace through strength,” if you will. This is also true in Nature, as a predator will always tend to seek out the weakest prey. The reason being that the predator that goes for strong prey is more likely to sustain severe injury, even if it were to succeed in the attack…If the injury is severe enough, it can prevent the predator from further hunting & may starve to death. Merely possessing a strong defense makes a good *deterrent* from being attacked in the first place.

      5. @jd.

        My knowledge of military history? Hah! You’re giving me too much credit, far too much.
        I just have a liking for this kind of matter, and I try to have at least a coherent stance.
        But I’m not an expert, by any means.

        Now, about the Danish course of action during WW2… well, this is, once again, just opinion, but I think this could only get them so far.
        They did a fine job, to say the least, in stalling deportation and allowing and helping victims of nazism in fleeing to Sweden, but putting an end to nazism would require much more than that. And that is war with an equally well-trained, well-motivated, well-led, well-supplied, etc. force fighting against the German force of that time.

        @Lora
        That was, as far as I see it, a mistake.
        It sends a terrible message: we are small, therefore, we don’t even bother defending ourselves as much as possible and let the our allies shoulder our share of the weight. Of course, this can be understood as a will to preserve the country, but in this case, it also gives an untouched country with untouched facilities ready to use to the invader.

        This terrible move to greatly disarm in the wake of WW1 didn’t help them in any way. It just made it easier for the invasion.

        Who put the worst defence? I’d say the Luxemburgese.
        But well, to be fair, no matter how willing to fight they could have been, it would have made very little difference.
        They were so few, and had absolutely no tanks or planes whatsoever. They just had a partially militarized police force akin the French or Belgian Gendarmerie (that’s how I see things, mind you. It would need a much more in-depth research).
        From the very beginning, they would have been limited to guerilla warfare. And even that could only have taken them so far without the active and well-planned support of the other, bigger allies of 1940.

    3. Indeed, as Steven Pinker has noted in the “The Better Angels” the more professionalized armies have become over the last 500 years, the less the rest of society suffers in war. Even during the worst of the 20th Century, war was not the greatest killer. Political “class-war” takes that position, followed by influenza.Still, there is a visible drop in the percentage of wounds of violence showing up when graveyards are studied over the last 500 years. The “Rough Men who stand between…” are responsible for most of that

    4. What if human propensity towards violence could be removed? Certain sci-fi works play with this concept. I’m reminded of an anime called “Shinsekai Yori”. Modern Earth: There are incidents of espers massacring people wholesale. Then, more espers appear. There’s a panic, a worldwide crackdown on espers and then civil war, much like in the X-Men. Except… the espers won. They took over, enslaving the non-espers.

      The few surviving non-espers hid and developed a virus. Rather than kill, this virus altered the human brain to do three things: (1) It put their sense of camaraderie and thirst for companionship into overdrive, (2) it kicked their sex drive into a higher gear and (3) it made it impossible for them to harm or kill each other without becoming violently ill. This was their final solution to ensure the survival of the human species.

      Eventually, the espers used their powers to mutate the non-espers, blending their DNA with mole-rats to make ugly mole-rat men as a slave race, with each colony revolving around a bloated queen for babies. (Think bloated termite queen and you’d be close.) Over generations, the mole-rat people are taught that humans are literally gods.

      Because the non-espers were no longer human and looked completely different, the espers had no problems with harming or killing them. Further, they forbade the teaching or even mention of their past, anything to do with technology or science, or the fact that they had horribly mutated their non-esper cousins. Human history and science is forgotten in preference of esper powers and a peaceful existence.

      But, one day, some mole rats discovered a long-buried library. They read copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. “All men are created equal…” These mole rats secretly developed technology and shielded two teenaged espers from their village elders. The two espers had a child. The mole rats raised the child as their own and brainwashed him into thinking that he was a mole rat, himself.

      The brainwashed esper attacked the village with Akira-like powers. The villagers could not defend themselves because they were incapable of attacking another human. He was eventually stopped. But, conceivably, he could have wiped out the village and then bring the slaughter to other villages. The leader of the mole rats was caught and, as punishment, was sentence to torment – a never-ending cycle of pain induced on his brain-in-a-jar. Despite being engineered to be non-violent, the espers still managed to be unbelievably cruel.

      1. “What if human propensity towards violence could be removed? ”

        If you demand even close to an elegantly small POD (point of departure) for that timeline, you cannot do it. The feel-goods reward cycle that *both* men *and* women use pushes *both* subtle behaviors like creativity *and* coarser behaviors, like violence. So, you could get rid of wars by dropping behavior reinforcement by testosterone levels rising through self-assertion, but you would also get rid of people doing self-assertion by making new mathematical theories, people who go exploring, people who find cures for new diseases, and new ways to grow food, not to mention people who build new spaceships.

        In short, you end up with a nice herd of gelded cattle afraid to leave their pen.

        The same hormonal cycle that teaches us to do good things, the testosterone reward cycle, usually with testosterone coming from the adrenal glands in these short bursts that affect behavior, will also teach us to do violent things when our attention is on coarseness. Focusing on subtle things needs to be taught though, and that is not popular in academia today. It feels far too much like religion, which is what had the job for the first 12,000 years of the holocene, before academia usurped that position, and started doing an even worse job than religion had done.

        1. Yeah … my recipe would be simpler. I’d aim at upping empathy (and trying to weed out whatever causes some people to be born completely without), and (the next two may be cultural instead of biological) reduce tribalism and increase critical thinking. I’m pretty sure that will enable future generations to do the next steps by themselves.

    5. Another which comes to mind is the novel “Everfree” by Nick Sagan. In this future, mankind was very nearly wiped out by a worldwide pandemic. But there are some “posthuman” genetically engineered to be immune. These are tasked with thawing out humans who could afford to be frozen until the pandemic passed and a cure found.

      Many humans are thawed and civilization begins to be rebuilt. Problem is, humanity’s greed, mistrust and thirst for power persists. Despite the human species only hanging on by a thread, lots of violence breaks out and the threat of a world war looms.

      Posthumans were created to ensure human survival and they’re growing desperate to save the species. One of them has been studying primates to learn how they get along so well with each other. There’s one species in particular which is cited as being extremely non-aggressive towards each other.

      She isolated the factors that make these primates docile and developed a virus to introduce this to humans. This does two things: (1) It cranks up their sex drive and (2) It gives humans a big endorphin kick every time that they say or do anything helpful or nice, encouraging charity and cooperation.

      In the sort term, this worked beautifully. The violence and threat of war disappeared. And humans ushered in a new age of rebuilding and cooperation. When the public found out about the virus, they were upset… for a few days. But they felt far too good to push the issue.

      Long term, though, it failed. The human brain was not designed for a perpetual endorphin high, so they built up a tolerance and the high faded. The story ends with posthumans trying to engineer a new virus to make the high stick this time.

  3. I wonder… What is Tethik trying to do? Antagonizing the guard? Testing it? Or just stating this because he is tired… Most of the time, Tethik is really cautious… So what is his goal here?

    1. Good point, sister. There must be something to his behaviour, beyond fatigue. He’s way too shrewd to attack someone verbally just because.

      The next few pages will be interesting.

      (As have the previous thousand pages or so.)

      1. Tethik is being quite forthright. He’s trying to find out what motivates the guard so he can figure out how he might react when he confronts Gudik and tells him he’s being a silly ass and needs to get home to face the resurgent Urrts.

        1. Being forthright, or shrewd, Tethik (for the last thousand pages at least) as always done things for a reason… or with something in mind. Maybe he’s trying to feel what is the atmosphere, as Salisria said, to be able to find what to say to Gudik… Or he knows something about the guard.
          The last thing… perhaps he is also saying this, not just for the guard but also for Thann ears as well? Maybe he needs to get a few point to his big companion before speaking to Gudik, or convince him?
          but as jd said, the next few pages will be interesting!

  4. Good to see these lovely men again! I do enjoy watching our beautiful ladies and Mentl, but these guys are also beautiful.

  5. Once again I have to commend our storyteller, not just on the beautiful plot, writing, dialogue and art, but on the quote. These war-weary words come from the same man who was quoted on page https://barbarianprincess.com/comic/with-vengeful-stroke/page-491/ to comment positively on all-out war, and I’m very thankful for that.

    1. Sherman was actually consistent in this. Sherman had traveled the South in peacetime, and taught its young bloods in a military academy. He knew that it was the 100+ slaves-owned plantation class of the Deep South (about 10,000 households, total) who had started the violence to push Virginia and the Border States into secession. He knew they were the people of the South least affected, till then, by the war, as the statistics show today. When he intended to “make Georgia Howl”, it was these folks, who controlled Georgia, and thought of themselves as its rightful rulers, that he was talking about. Even before that, however, he had written to his wife, saying that Northern Georgia non-slavers had every right to hate him, because it was their highland non-slave-worked farms his campaign down to Atlanta was devastating. Even when his orders marked out the large-plantation owning oligarchy as the targets of his “bummers” after he left Atlanta, he knew it could not do anything but spill far wider than that. He was a happy warrior only when he knew he had avoided high casualties for his men.

      1. Did you know Sherman’s bodyguards for the Atlanta campaign were from the First Georgia Cavalry? People underestimate (or just don’t understand) how divisive the war was for the South. If they hadn’t been fighting the Union, the South still would’ve burned.

  6. ” How do you tell when nationalism has wrung the last lick of sense from a man? Ask him what he fights for and he’ll answer with who he fights for. ”
    – someone or other, probably

    1. If you read the stories written by or listen to the infantry veterans who did the hard fighting in WW II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, you find that they all eventually fought for each other more than anything else. I personally don’t know hardly anybody that I served with or knew later in veterans’ groups that was motivated much by nationalism beyond WW II veterans. Full disclosure: Vietnam Service in US Army as Aerial Surveillance Officer 07/13/1968 to 07/12/1969. 39 hand held aerial photo missions during which shot at by enemy only once (probably record for not getting shot at) and once by own artillery. Total times under enemy fire – 2, friendly fire by 105 mm howitzers – 2. Only saw one casualty, a South Vietnamese woman wounded in a crossfire.

      1. Ney? Heh. You have the same family name as one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s (Napoleon the First, the “small corporal”, as he was nicknamed) most-known marshalls. 🙂

  7. Ah, Tethik, I love your dry sarcasm!

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  9. Please erase the comment above this one. And then this one.

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